Whether you are planning for a short holiday trip or that dream vacation (as a solo traveler or spending days with your good friends and family) , one thing is for sure, you need money.
You need to have the money to pay for basic travel expenses: transportation fare, lodging, food, and to add: souvenirs and entertainment expenses.
Sure, travel can be cheap. There are a lot of blogs you can read about affordable travels, or promo trips you can avail. But you still need to realize that money you will splurge on your vacation.
As a millennial myself, I enjoy traveling and investing money for valuable experiences or exciting adventures. I actually keep a travel bucket list of my own where many are unchecked yet.
However, I personally practice a financially-responsible travel. I believe being smart with money even before hitting the road is the key to a successful trip. In other words, I plan ahead. This is important so I can enjoy my vacation without finding myself running out of money.
The first step in planning is to have a general idea of overall cost of your desired trip. Everything is almost available online that it is now fairly easy to research about activities available in your planned destination. Create a spreadsheet, perhaps in Excel to list down the estimated costs you need to be prepared for based on your research.
Next step is to compare your trip plan to the reality of your financial situation. Ask yourself, “can I afford this travel?” You have to be honest so you can make the right decision. If you cannot afford it right now, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dream. You just have to save more.
Here are 6 ways to save money for your travel goals:
1. Build a Dedicated Travel Fund
Set aside money in a fund which you intend to use specifically for travel. It would be better to save in an account you cannot easily withdraw from or to invest in short-term time deposits. But a good piggy bank with a note written “Travel to (Destination)” may also do.
If you are committed in reaching your travel goals, commit to build your target travel fund with a timeline. Make it a habit to feed your travel piggy daily, weekly or monthly. You don’t want to be leisurely spending your emergency fund or to end up in a huge debt after that dream vacation. Don’t hurt your finances, my friend. Even though you want to live in the moment, it is still fairly important to think about your financial security in the future.
2. Track your Spending
Track your income and expenses for a month or two to see where you spend the most. You can download expense tracker apps such as Money Lover where you can easily list your expenditures for the day by a few taps on your phone.
Doing this, you will gain awareness of your spending habits and figure out what you’re doing right — and more importantly what you might be doing wrong that you need to change. Maybe instead of going to cinema every week, you can go once a month . You can save those extra bills on your travel piggy instead, right?
3. Create a Budget and Stick to it!
Assign strict numbers to your recurring expenses and stick to it religiously. You can maintain a running budget to make sure you always know how much of your budget is left. The key is to always decide in advance how much you can afford to spend in every kind of expense, whether it is shopping or dining out, etc.
Some of the helpful tricks to stick to your budget: (I personally practice these…)
>Use a calculator to total the prices of everything that you pick up from a store .
>Withdraw enough cash you need and leave your cards at home.
4. Learn and Develop the Habit of Saving Vigorously
Be thrifty. Live a modest life. The next time you want to buy something, ask yourself if you really need it. You may not need to spend on that over-priced fancy coffee.
There are many other different ways to cut costs and save more money. Perhaps instead of dining out every lunch time for which you spend Php100-150 a meal, you can cook and pack your meals and save Php 250 – 500 a week.
Instead of riding a tricycle or jeepney spending Php 8-20 per ride, you can wake up a little earlier to walk or ride a bike to work and save Php 40 – 100 a week.
If the place the you rent costs you a lot of money, you can think about taking a roommate to share the rent and bills or move to a cheaper place, especially if there are options available. You can also think about turning down your air conditioning or lights when not in use to reduce utility bills.
Sometimes you need to think outside the box to make your dreams come true. You have to make some sacrifices which can be uncomfortable at first, but when you make it a habit, it becomes natural for you to save that you realize you achieve your goals in no time.
5. Sell Stuffs you don’t Need.
Go through your closet, or garage and find items you are no longer using or those clutter you don’t really need. Then you can sell them to your friends or relatives or online such as through Carousell, a marketplace app on your phone where you can easily list your secondhand or unwanted things up for sale. Selling your crap can dramatically boost your savings.
6. Earn extra income.
There are many kinds of part-time opportunities out there that can help you earn more money. Do a research to help you figure out what jobs you can take that match your talent or skillset. For example, if you have a hobby of taking pictures, you can do events photography that pays. Or if you have a passion for writing, then you can start a blog of your niche.
You can also work from home by taking freelance/online jobs as a graphic web designer, virtual assistant, bookkeeper, data encoder, copywriter, language tutor etc. You can sign up account on Upwork or Onlinejobs.ph to start earning online.
Saving money — for any goal, is not easy.
Temptations and obstacles may get in your way. My tip for you is to always remind yourself of your goal. Keep a picture of that dream destination on your phone or wallet or create your dream board with pictures of your travel goals. Look at it every single day and be motivated to save for that goal.
Sharing half of my own dream board. Do not be afraid to dream big. “Your only limitation is the one you set up in your own mind.”
Good luck, and remember to be financially-responsible!